Ashes 2013: Australia legend Glenn McGrath reveals admiration for England's attitude
England have taken a 3-0 lead in the series with one Test to play
Wednesday 14 August 2013
Australia great Glenn McGrath sees a touch of the “Baggy Green mentality” of old in the current England team.
Andy Flower's men secured the Ashes for the third time in succession when they won at Chester-le-Street on Monday to take an unassailable 3-0 lead with one match remaining in the five-Test series.
It is quite a comedown for Australia after years of dominance over their old rivals, and former pace bowler McGrath admits the psychological balance has shifted.
"The Australian team that I was lucky enough to play in had a certain aura and sometimes you had teams beaten before you walked on the field," he wrote in his Guardian column.
"England aren't at that stage but after 12 Tests without defeat and five wins in six they've got that confidence, that belief.
"We saw something of that old Baggy Green mentality from England on Monday evening. When you're playing in a good team where you're confident in yourself and your team-mates, when you've done the business before, it makes it so much easier.
"The opposite is also true: when you're used to losing you somehow keep finding ways to lose. Australia were right in the game with England 275 for eight in their second innings, but the last two pairs were able to add another 55 runs. When you haven't had that experience of toughing it out for a victory you can be on top in a game, something happens and it's "here we go again...", and you end up losing another one you could have won.
"But it's not all down to attitude. England have got some hugely talented players and the one who has really impressed me is Ian Bell. He hasn't won a man of the match award but for me he's been the man of the series."
Bell has made three centuries in the four Tests to date, totalling 500 runs at an average of 71.42, in an otherwise below-par England top order.
With only two other home batsmen averaging above 30 - Joe Root, who has struggled apart from his 180 at Lord's, and Kevin Pietersen - it has put the pressure on the bowlers to step up.
James Anderson took five wickets in each innings at Trent Bridge and Graeme Swann nine at Lord's before Stuart Broad's match figures of 11 for 121 in the fourth Test clinched the series.
McGrath added: "The scary thing for Australia is that as a team England haven't really produced a complete performance yet. It has been one or two players per Test that have done the business.
"Australia will try to find the positives but you wonder where they can go from here. They've taken a massive blow and somehow they have to pick themselves up."
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